This blog is my response to The Joy Dare by Ann Voskamp, author of the book "One Thousand Gifts". Every day (hopefully) I will be recording three things that bring me joy, three gifts from God, three things that I am grateful for.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31, 2012: Hope is Faith

a gift heard, a gift held, a gift hoped for:
  •  music on Pandora Radio.  I have a personalized station of contemporary Christian music that lifts my spirit.
  • my daughter as I said goodbye to her tonight.  She is a gift of God.
  • those I love walking with the Lord.  It is my heartfelt desire, my constant prayer. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:2

Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30, 2012: The Blessing of Being Laid Bare

3 gifts uncovered:
  • me, after sleeping in this morning.  The gift of a day off with no specific plans.
  • truth, from a discussion with a friend today.  Calling myself a realist is often just doubt in disguise.
  • my heart, by God's Word. It is able to discern my thoughts and intentions, exposing me for what I really am.  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29, 2012: Promises Kept

3 gifts of His promises:
  • Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:4-5
  • Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
  • Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 
God's promises are such a comfort and strength.  I have made many promises and kept nowhere near all, but God has never and will never make a promise that he won't keep. He is trustworthy and true, he cannot lie. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. Psalm 145:13 All your words are true. Psalm 119:160 It is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18

2 helpful resources about God's promises:



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28, 2012: Becoming One

3 gifts entwined:
  • the maple tree in my backyard.  When we moved to this house over 18 years ago, my husband planted a couple of maple trees in the backyard.  They have grown up together, trunks entwined to make one beautiful tree. 
  • my heart with my husband's and ours with God's. I don't know how couples who are not believers face hard times in their marriage. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 3:12
  • the body of believers.  When it functions as it should, it is the most beautiful and powerful extension of God.  I am blown away by 700+ people who have joined a prayer support group on Facebook for someone I know who is battling cancer.  Those 700 people likely have 700 different views on things theological, yet they are united in purpose to lift this woman up before God's throne of grace.  Glorious!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27, 2012: The Gift of Redemption

3 gifts redeemed:
  • a routine day at work.  Redeemed by contagious joy.  One of my coworkers brought his young daughter in today and behind the closed door of my office, I could hear him playing with her in the hall, she shrieking with delight as her daddy chased her.  
  • creation.  Redeemed by the long months of winter.  Liberated by the warmth of spring to new life.
  • me.  Most of all me.  Redeemed by the very life of my Lord and Savior. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us. Luke 1:68-69b

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012: The Goodness in Almost Gone

3 gifts almost gone:
  • winter.  Winter is a gift because without it I certainly wouldn't appreciate the beauty, warmth, and new life of spring, but I'm glad it's almost gone.
  • lotion.  I received a bottle of very expensive eye cream as a gift.  It's almost gone now, but It's been fun to use something so luxurious that I would normally never buy.
  • happy hour.  I had plans to meet a friend for dinner tonight, but when we arrived at the agreed upon restaurant, found it closed.  We went to another restaurant across the street and when we sat down, the waitress told us that happy hour was almost gone, but that we had 5 minutes or so to order off that menu.  We quickly made our choices and ended up bargain priced meals of $2.99!  An unexpected gift.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25, 2012: Singing a Song of Freedom

a gift sung, a gift written, a gift painted:
  • Changed by Aaron Niequist ©2003 AARONieq Music .  One of my very favorite worship songs. The first two lines read,  "In Jesus’ name I’ve been changed, I’ve been filled, I’ve been found, I’ve been freed, I’ve been saved!"  Hallelujah!
  • Heavenly Man  by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway.  One of the most thought provoking books I've ever read.  If you don't think God still works miracles, read the story of Brother Yun.
  • A gorgeous painting of the Biblical story of Ruth that hangs in the hallway at my church.   I have it as my desktop background on the computer and it inspires me every time I see it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24, 2012: The Power of Words

 3 gifts spoken:
  • "Holy, Holy, Holy Adonai Almighty. You are worthy to have honor, pow’r and glory. Holy, Holy, Holy Adonai."  Lyrics from a favorite worship songs, Adonai Almighty © EarReverent Music 2001.  Holiness is my favorite attribute of God.  Blows me away every time.
  • "See you then!"   Dinner plans with a dear friend.  I have learned the importance of having things to look forward to.
  • "Look, I got the painting done."  Three cheers for my husband who touched up the paint in the laundry room--it looks great!

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23, 2012: The Gift of a Coffee Cup

3 gifts found in women today:
I ponder this dare as I leave from a morning spent with a longtime friend.  It was cool and pouring down rain outside, but as we sat in the coffee shop with cups to warm our hands, my heart was encouraged and strengthened by the time spent together.  I am blessed to have women in my life who are...
  • vulnerable.  Who aren't afraid to let their guard down, to expose their emotions.
  • joyous.  Who love to laugh and to share happy news.
  • compassionate.  Who feel another's pain and dare to venture in.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012: Words from the Word

3 gifts found in His Word:
  • Psalm 9:9-10 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
  • Psalm 37:23-24  The LORD makes firm the steps of those who delight in him; though they stumble, they will not fall, for the LORD upholds them with his hand. 
  •  1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012: Sometimes Gifts Are Hard to Swallow

one gift salty, one gift sweet, one gift just right:
  • salty tears of frustration over a difficult situation.  Trying to keep in mind Ephesians 4:2,  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
  • sweet, chewy peanut butter cookies, freshly baked.  I've already eaten more than my fair share!
  • a just right afternoon spent with a friend.  Lunch and shopping--fun girl time!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012: The Gift of Laughter

3 gifts that made you laugh:
  • a text message from a friend who still has a sense of humor despite a trial she is suffering. 
  • a phone call from a sister-in-Christ.  She is a joyful person and it's a gift when that joy spills over.
  • The Middle (last week's episode viewed on Hulu).  One of the only TV shows I watch--it makes me laugh every time. 
A cheerful heart is good medicine.  Proverbs 17:22

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    March 19, 2012: The Joy of Food

    3 gifts eaten:
    • Panera's Fuji Apple Chicken Salad.  Delish! But really it was the company of a dear friend that made the lunch such a gift.
    • a Dove milk chocolate silky smooth egg.  Heaven wrapped in foil! 
    • grilled chicken for dinner.  A taste of summer. 
    So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    March 18, 2012: Redeemed by Red

    3 gifts red:
    • my son's car running smoothly.  Our main mission for visiting him this weekend accomplished.
    • my new sandals and weather warm enough to wear them.
    • the blood of my Savior. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:18-19

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    March 17, 2012: Gifts of Spring

    a gift turned, a gift folded, a gift hung:
    • forsythia bushes turned yellow. A gift of spring, of promise, of joy.
    • sheets folded to make up a bed on the air mattress in my son's apartment.  Such a blessing to spend a weekend visiting him.
    • a camping chair hung on the hook in my son's closet that I can take it outside to enjoy sitting in the sunshine.  Simple pleasure.

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    March 16, 2012: Gratitude in Pain

    3 hard eucharisteos:

     Eucharisteo–Greek. yoo-khar-is-teh’-o. Verb. Definition: 1.To be grateful, to feel thankful. 2. Give thanks
    •  my son living in another state.  I am eternally grateful that he has a job he loves, but it is nevertheless hard to have him living too far away. 
    • the privilege of walking alongside a friend who is going through an emotionally wrenching time with one of her children. 
    • another friend's perspective on bearing the pain of a child who has wandered from her roots.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    March 15, 2012: Gifts Both Given and Received

    3 gifts given away:
    • a homemade card for my niece's birthday.
    • a hug to my husband.
    • time with a friend at dinner tonight.
    It really seems like I shouldn't count these gifts as something given away because I received something equal or better in return.  I received the joy of making the card for my niece since I love crafting.  I received a hug in return for the one I gave. I received my friend's time back, as well as the pleasure of her company and a night out.  I guess that's the beauty of a gift, when you give you also receive, often multiplied. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    March 14, 2012: Quiet Gifts

    3 gifts in silence:
    • knowing.  Psalm 46:10 says Be still and know that I am God.  It's in the stillness, the silence that we meet God.  It's difficult to discern hear his voice in the midst of the noisy din and chaos of our daily lives.  It's not that he can't or won't speak there, it's just too hard for us to hear him.
    • pleasure.  I love being alone in my house during the day.  I almost never turn on the radio or TV.  I just enjoy the solitude.  Weird, I know.
    • ringing.  I have tinnitus, ringing in my ears.  It is non-relenting. I hate it, but I am counting it because God allows it and so I must believe he has a purpose for it.  Perhaps he is teaching me patience (he is always teaching me patience, it seems--I wish I was a faster learner), or to slow down and listen more carefully.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    March 13, 2012: Gifts All Around

    3 gifts round:
    • Easter eggs. Yeah, yeah, I know they're really oval, not round.  Nevertheless, I had fun today mod-podging paper on eggs (Pinterest, of course) to pile in a bowl on my kitchen table.  
    • Tupperware lids.  Leftovers for dinner.  Three cheers for a no-cooking night!
    • a spool of blue ribbon.  My daughter and I made invitations for her friend's bachelorette party.  They turned out so cute!

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    March 12, 2012: The Gift of Water

    a gift in wind, in water, in white:
    • a gift in wind: or more accurately, a gift after wind.  We had a tornado watch tonight with driving rain and winds, but after it passed through, the most beautiful pink sunset. It brought to mind the story in 1 Kings 19 where God reveals himself to Elijah.  The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”    Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (v. 11-12)  God is all the power of an earthquake or a tornado, but he more often chooses to show his glory in a gentle whisper or a pink sunset.
    • a gift in water: the ice cold glass I drank and refilled with my dinner.  The water I can get straight out of the faucet any time I feel like it, without a second thought.  Did you know that 17 percent of the world's population has no access to clean drinking water?  That's a billion people!  For more information on the world water crisis, check out http://20liters.org
    • a gift in white: a little ceramic bird sitting on the table in my living room.  He is so sweet and cheerful, very springlike.

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    March 11, 2012: Reading of God's Love and Faithfulness

    3 gifts read:
    • Psalm 108 read in unison in church.  I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;  let your glory be over all the earth. v. 3-5
    • the lyrics of Chris Tomlin's Everlasting God sung in worship. Our God, You reign forever.  Our hope, our strong deliverer. 'Cause You are, You are the everlasting God, the everlasting God.  You don't grow faint, you won't grow weary. You're the defender of the weak, you comfort those in need.  You lift us up on wings like eagles.
    • an email from a friend setting a date to get together for dinner.
    For what it's worth, I attempted to change the comment section so that you can leave a comment without being a Google member.  Give it a try, I'd love to hear your thoughts about what gifts you're counting today!

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    March 10, 2012: Good Gifts in Christ

    3 gifts in Christ: 
    • eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 3:23 
    • reconciliation Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:11
    • righteousness. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:21-22a

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    March 9, 2012: The Gift of Remembering

    3 gifts carved:
    • our grandfather clock.  A wedding gift, now over 26 years old.  Remembering our wedding vows with each chime.
    • the antique desk my computer is on.  It has the most lovely carved edge to its top.  Remembering my grandparents each time I sit down.
    • my name, on God's hand.  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.  Isaiah 49:16a  He will never forget or forsake me.

    March 8, 2012: Counting Gifts Out Loud

    3 gifts loud:
    • laughter as I gathered with a group of women tonight for an evening of fun and fellowship.
    • the rattle of the heater behind me as it heats up a cold basement on a cold night.
    • my Savior's voice as he gave his life for me. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    March 7, 2012: The Bond of Believers

    3 gifts in the kitchen:
    • a pretty little dish I bought in the Bahamas, a souvenir from our 25th anniversary trip. A reminder of the blessing of marriage.
    • my tea kettle.  Because there's just nothing like a cup of herbal tea to comfort and refresh.
    • new friends.  We started meeting tonight with a group of people from church to study and discuss the book of Ruth for the Lenten season.  It's such joy to have an instant connection with other believers because of the bond we have in Christ.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    March 6, 2012: The Gift of Hope

    a gift bent, a gift broken, a gift beautiful:
    • God's ear to hear me when I pray.  I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.  Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. Psalm 17:6-7a
    • the separation caused by sin. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation. Ephesians 2:13-14
    • the weather today.  Sunshine and warm temps. The hope of spring. 

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    March 5, 2012: The Hope of Spring

    3 gifts found:
    • a sign of spring.  Spotted my first robins today.  The gift of hope.
    • perspective.  (again).  When I was feeling sorry for myself this morning about having to go back to work after being on vacation, I logged into an online community that I am part of and read updates on some of the trials that others are facing.  Oh, that they had as little to complain about as I do.
    • an idea. My daughter asked me to help her make invitations for a friend's bachelorette party and I found a cute idea that's not too difficult to make.

    March 4, 2012: Giving Thanks in All Circumstances

    3 gifts hard to give thanks for:
    • the end of a great vacation.
    • the beginning of a new work week--back at 'em.
    • the cold and snow back home.
    That's why God needs to remind us to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:18.  It's not always easy to be thankful, but He knows that gratitude is good for our souls.

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    March 2, 2012: The Joys of Spring

    3 gifts green:
    • a comfy green T-shirt I'm wearing tonight.
    • bougainvillea bushes in bloom.  I just learned today that the flowers are not the colored part of the plant.  The flowers are tiny and white hardly noticeable in the midst of the brilliantly colored bracts (just like poinsettias), the leaves are green.  Whatever the parts are called, they are altogether lovely.
    • the green of spring.  It does my soul good to see the earth springing back to life. A sign of hope, of new life after the cold and death of winter. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    March 1, 2012: The Gift of Simple Pleasures

    3 gifts at 3 pm:
    • a shopping trip with my mom.
    • finding a new picture to hang in my bedroom, and at a great price to boot.
    • the pleasure of a leisurely day, with nothing pressing to do.